Steady Cameras

Hold the Camera with Both Hands

Some people think it is cool to operate cameras with just one hand. I believe the manufacturers are doing you a favor by freeing up a hand not so you can use it to eat a candy bar, but so you can use it to steady the camera. Two hands are always better than one. It sounds obvious and simple yet every time I go to record a public event I always see folks holding the camcorder with just one hand. Stop acting like an amateur and hold the camera with both hands. Your audience will thank you, maybe not verbally, but will appreciate your effort.

The Correct Stance

People are lazy, especially during long shoots. If you have the job as videographer you had better not be leaning your weight on just one leg. Stand with your feet approximately shoulder length apart with your body weight balanced between both legs. This stance is proven to improve stability in all physical activity and it definitely applies in this case as well.

Electronic Stabilization

Once again, the manufacturers are trying to help you out. If you are shooting without the use of a tripod then turn the electronic stabilizer on, but be sure to turn it off when you put the camera back on the tripod. This technology has improved greatly in the last few years and makes a huge difference in the final shot.

Avoid Zooming, Get Closer

The wide angle is doubtlessly the most stable setting. Zooming make the camera much more reactive to the slightest movement. While holding the camera in your hands this includes up and down as well as side to side. Many zooms are digital now and I frown upon its use. Only use optical zoom! Digital zoom only enlarges existing shots which start to pixelate and the quality plunges. If you can get closer without zooming, this will keep the angle wide and will stabilize your shot.

Caring For Digital Camera

Digital cameras don’t come cheap. With the kind of features and utility levels of a digital camera a good one costs above ten thousand. Good brands included Canon digital camera, Nikon digital camera, Sony digital camera etc. A digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) would start from thirty thousand and run into lakhs. Digital SLR’s are hi-end cameras with professional features and good image quality. When one spends so much on a good quality digital camera taking care of it is also very important. All parts of the camera should be taken care of and there are equipments available in the market for the same. These equipments are one time moderate investment in keeping your expensive camera in good condition.

Camera parts like the lens, viewfinder and the LCD screen are the most essential elements of a camera. These parts should be regularly cleaned and taken care of. There is a blower available in the market which helps to dust off the dirt on the lens. One should never touch the lens, the viewfinder or the LCD display with fingers. The blower helps in removing the dirt and a lens cleaning solution helps in removing the sticky particles on the lens or viewfinder. The cameras lens cover should be put on when not in use this is the best way to protect your cameras eyes. Once the lens and viewfinder are cleaned the camera assures clear pictures and good view of the image.

Digital camera batteries should be taken out when not in use. If you intend to store your camera for a long time the batteries should be removed and on the next usage they should be charged and then used. Batteries discharge over a period of time and using them without recharging or storing them may hamper your camera and its performance. Also the camera should be stored in a cool dry place. Keeping your expensive Canon digital camera inside your car in summers will hamper the camera and you will have to bear a heavy price for your carelessness. Camera accessories like the extendable memory card should also be taken care off. The card should not be taken out while transferring pictures and should be stored properly when not in use. This enables good performance of the card otherwise it could be corrupted and will turn useless. Thus taking mediocre care of your digital camera and spending a little amount on its care would help in maintaining and making your camera viable for years together.

Seamless High Performance

Some years ago, people used ordinary cameras to take pictures. But, those are bulky and inconvenient to handle and were not high in their performance, quality and durability. These conventional cameras are replaced by the sleek and space-conscious cheap digital cameras that allow the users to store, to record, remove and edit the pictures according to their wish and is available at low prices in the market. These cameras come in a portable size that allow the users to carry it with ease wherever they go.

When it comes to the advantages of digital cameras, these cameras come with the most advanced features and offer multi-purposes to their users. These stylish and smart cameras come with memory card that enable the users to find zoom power, to adjust the options, to review the photographs, to check the battery, mega pixel count and use of flash. The higher mega pixels digital camera are offering the best, crystal clear and blur less images to the users. As the camera world technology develops day by day, the latest cheap digital cameras come with so powerful features that they can capture the clear pictures even in low light condition. These cameras offer seamless high performance and are well-known for their clarity, flexibility and price.

The present day market is flooded with numerous types of digital cameras with various features. The digital cameras manufacturer companies are taking efforts to provide the best and high-quality digital cameras at reasonable prices in the market. If you are looking for some of the best and┬ácheap digital cameras, you can go for the Nikon COOLPIX S550 digital, Digital SLR Camera Nikon D700, Canon digital camera IXUS 80 IS, Canon Digital Camera – PowerShot A580 and Kodak easy share C613 Zoom digital camera. Before going to choose the high-performance digital camera, you should consider so many factors like image resolution, warranty, brand, price and after sales service. Among all the markets available in the present day the online market is the best one to get a good quality digital camera at a low price.

Use A Tripod

On sunny days or when you use a really fast shutter speed, simply holding the camera in your hand will still produce a sharp image. But there’s another reason for using a tripod on these occasions as well. Erecting the tripod causes you to SLOW DOWN and think a little more about the shot you’re about to take. Because you’re concentrating more, you’ll have a better chance of composing your image correctly and ending up with a super shot.

Types of Camera Stands

  • Tripod. This is a three legged stand that attaches to the mount on your camera. This is the most common type of mount to hold your camera steady, and allows you to move your hands away from the camera completely and still have it steady in position.
  • Monopod. A variation on the tripod, this stand only has one leg. Attach the monopod to your camera, stand it on the ground and use your hands to ensure the camera and stand don’t fall over. This helps because the monopod stops the camera moving up and down, and provides a rest for your hands so camera shake is reduced. For a bit of extra stability, lean yourself, or your camera against another sturdy object like a light pole.
  • Chainpod. An ingenious design consisting of a length of chain (or string) with a loop on one end large enough to place your foot into. The other end is attached to your camera. To use a Chainpod, place your foot through the loop and pull your camera up so the chain is tight while taking your photo. The tension in the chain will reduce camera shake just like a monopod. The great advantage of a chainpod is you can crunch it up and place it in your pocket!
  • Dolly. This is a tripod with wheels (and brakes!). A dolly allows you to move your tripod around easily without needing to lift your camera, but it’s not so useful outdoors when the ground is uneven. There are dolly attachments available for regular tripods.
  • Car Window Mount. This gadget allows you to mount your camera to your car window to take photos of wildlife while still sitting in the car.

A Rock! Yes, you can use any ledge as a tripod when you need a sharp picture but don’t have a tripod handy. You can also use a small bean bag to steady your camera and lens if your camera doesn’t stand upright by itself.

Which should I purchase?

If you’re just starting out, I recommend purchasing a standard tripod with telescoping legs that stands full length (5-6 feet). Make sure you get a sturdy (preferably all aluminum) model. Pick the heaviest model you can carry around with you.

Lightweight models are available, as are mini-tripods – Perfect for portability, but they don’t have the stability of the larger models.

Using a Tripod

Most of the time, you just setup your tripod, place your camera on top and shoot! There are a few subtleties to using a tripod that can help enormously.

  • The longer the legs of the tripod, the less steady the tripod becomes. Extend your tripod legs only enough to enable you to get your camera into the correct position.
  • Sometimes the act of depressing the shutter causes movement in the camera. To minimize this, use your other hand and press down on the top of the camera directly above the tripod mount. This will help to further reduce movement.
  • You’re most likely to need your tripod when your camera is fully zoomed in. When fully zoomed in, any small shake is likely to show on the image.

Other Tripod Secrets

  • Try to find a tripod with a built in level. The level will help ensure your landscape shots are completely straight and save needing to rotate the image slightly in your computer to get a level horizon.
  • Specialized lenses are available that can compensate for camera shake. They are called “Image Stabilizers” or “Vibration Reduction lenses”. They can be rather expensive, so I recommend sticking with a tripod.
  • Try to get a tripod with a quick release mount. This will enable you to quickly remove the camera from your tripod should you need to take a quick ‘candid’ shot.

Effective use of Flash

As with any other technology knowing how it works behind the scenes and what your options are can help in better utilizing it for your advantage. Flash photography has been around for more than a hundred years. It started with a dangerous and manually controlled technology that used a powder that was lit by either fire or electrical current. These flash solutions were both dangerous and hard to use since the flash was not automatically synchronized to the camera’s shutter. Modern flash units use an electronic flash tube that is synchronized with the camera’s shutter. When turning the flash on the photographer does not need to worry about flash timing – the camera takes care of it automatically.

There are two types of flash units: Internal and External. The internal flash unit is built-in to your camera. It can be controlled through the camera’s menus. Some low end cameras only allow the use of their built-in units. Some low end cameras and all high end cameras also allow the attachment of an external flash unit. External flash units are either attached to the camera’s body through a dedicated slide-in slot or are connected to the camera using a cable. They vary in strength – how much light can they generate for how long – and in mechanical characteristics – can they be tilted or skewed or are they fixed in relation to the camera’s body. Regardless of the connection type external flash units are electronically connected to the camera and are synchronized with the shutter.

When setting your flash unit to automatic mode the camera fires the flash in scenarios where not enough light is available. Many times the camera will make a wrong judgment and will either fire or not fire the flash when the opposite was needed. Also in some scenarios the camera will not be able to tell that firing the flash will actually result in a better photo. One problem when using a flash is washed out photos. When the flash is too strong or the object is too close to the camera the result is a washed out photo there are not enough details and the object appears to be too white or too bright. Another problem is a photo with too many details: in some scenarios the flash can create artificial shadows and lights which result in a photo that includes details that are exaggerated relative to their appearance in real life. For example when taking a photo of an older person skin wrinkles and imperfections can look much worse than they really are in real life.

It is important to know the limitations of the flash unit. Any flash unit has a certain amount of light that it can generate. Usually this amount can be translated to an effective range for using the flash. When trying to take a photo with the object too far – more than the flash unit range – the object will appear dark. When trying to take a photo with the object too close to the camera the object will be washed out or too white. It is important to know your flash range and make sure that your object is within that range.

If you need to take a photo with your objects not within your flash unit range it is better to turn off the flash completely and use a tripod with long exposure. Using the flash in such scenarios can fool the camera into setting a high shutter speed which results in a photo darker than a photo taken without using the flash at all.

In some scenarios the camera will not automatically fire the flash although using the flash would have resulted in a much better photo. One such scenario is taking a photo during day time when the object is shadowed. For example if the object is wearing a hat the hat can block the light from the object’s face or when the object is lit from the side the object’s nose can block the light creating a shadow. In such scenarios the flash unit can be set to “fill in” mode. The flash will be fired to fill-in those shadowed areas but it will not be fired strong enough to wash out the photo.

Another scenario is when the sun is behind the object. One example is taking a photo on the beach against a sunset. If taken without a fill-in flash the result will most likely be a silhouette of the object. If taken with a fill-in flash and the object in range the result will be a clear photo of the object against a sunset.

Think About When Buying Camera Bags

When you start shopping for camera bags, the first thing you will notice is how many of them you have to choose from. It can be downright overwhelming, but the more you look the more you will see that you can narrow your options just by size and shape and type. There are going to be some bags that just aren’t attractive to your sense of style.

A shoulder bag is one of the most common types of camera bags on the market today. These are those bags that are attached to strap and then worn on the shoulder. This is a great type of bag if you want to be able to access your equipment relatively quickly because it’s all right there where you can reach in just a moments notice. If you have a larger camera, you may find that a shoulder bag gets big and bulky pretty quickly, so you need to determine whether or not this is right for you and the type of photography you are involved in and how much you will be moving.

Camera backpacks are also very popular. These are backpacks that are developed with the camera in mind so that there is plenty of padding to protect your camera no matter where you go. This is a great option if you have a larger SLR camera or something of the sort, because you won’t have to worry about a bulky bag swinging and hanging form your shoulder. You won’t be able to access your camera quite as quickly, but if you’re not in an urban setting, you may not need to have quick access to the camera, making this an ideal bag for you.

When shopping for camera bags, you might want to look into lens bags. These are bags that are meant specifically for the extra lenses that you may purchase for your camera. If you don’t have extra lenses, you obviously won’t need to make this purchase, but if you do have extra lenses you may find that these bags are just what you need to protect your investments while also ensuring that you can keep all of your photography components organized.

Wildlife Scouting Cameras

After a couple of years of using the camera I was very disappointed. The camera worked fine and we had many pictures of deer, but they were the same does and spike bucks that I was seeing during the day. Something must be wrong; I knew that there had to be big bucks stalking the hillsides at night. After all, everyone always said “you know there is a big one in there somewhere”.

After many rolls of film and an equal number of anxious trips to retrieve developed pictures, I came to realize that there simply were not any mystical trophy bucks roaming our property.

This scouting camera was the proof that I needed to convince myself that the problem was not nocturnal deer but it was actually a deer management problem.

In the eight years since that initial camera purchase I have gotten pictures of bucks that I had not seen, but this wasn’t until after I had implemented a quality deer management plan on our property. One thing is certain, if mature bucks are not on your property you will not get a picture of them and you will definitely not see them.

You can use your scouting camera pictures to get approximate buck to doe ratios simply by observing the ratios that are in the pictures. Also it is easier to estimate the quality of the bucks on your property once you have a picture that you can study. You will also get pictures of the other wildlife that make their homes on your property.

With a scouting camera you can practically perform 24 hour scouting, especially with the new digital scouting cameras. For those of us who work it is difficult to spend a lot of time scouting, but the camera can be your eyes.

A scouting camera cannot find bucks that are not there but they do a real good job of letting you know what is.

Where do you put your scouting camera? This is one of the fun parts of having a scouting camera. Deciding where to put the camera is just like deciding where to hunt.

The easiest way to get pictures of whitetail deer is to have something that attracts them. If you do this, a camera can take a lot of pictures in a short period of time. Be careful of your delay settings on your camera or you could get a lot of pictures of the same deer.

It is interesting to put the camera up at various places such as: well used trails, scrapes, rubs, food plots and minerals licks. I’m sure that you can think of a few places where you would like to know how much deer activity takes place.

Most scouting cameras have the ability to place the date and time on the photograph. This can be very helpful in determining the time of day the deer show up at your particular hotspot. I use it to let me know what time I have to be in the woods in the mornings so that I don’t have to get out of bed any earlier than I have to.

There are a few things that will help ensure that you will not be disappointed with your scouting camera.

Try not to place the camera where it is facing into either the rising or setting sun.

Clear weeds away from the front of the camera so that you do not get pictures of weeds swaying in the breeze.

Do not set your camera up too close or far away from where you expect the deer to travel. A camera set up on a tree within 3 feet of the trail is too close whereas most flashes cannot reach much beyond 30 feet or less.

Fresh batteries! It is very disappointing to find out that you didn’t get many pictures because your batteries have died. Rechargeable batteries are gaining popularity lately; I’m having good success using them with my digital scouting camera.

I advise buying a scouting camera that has a locking device. It would be too easy for someone to walk away with your camera if it is not locked.

I am using a digital scouting camera for the first time this year and highly recommend them. There are many advantages to the digital camera, in particular the capability of viewing your pictures right away.

The exciting part is seeing a picture of a nice buck that you didn’t know was on your property. These pictures help you get out of bed on those cold mornings and make you stay in your stand longer when you get bored. Get yourself a scouting camera and have fun with it.

Benefits of Disposable Cameras

Disposable cameras are called “single-use” or “one-time” cameras. You can get both digital and film disposable cameras. They’re available almost everywhere, from your local camera store to the grocery store. These cameras take all the work, worry and fuss out of picture taking and leave pure enjoyment. The photo quality is often quite good, and the point-and-shoot nature of almost all disposable cameras mean that you can capture those moments that are missed as you fiddle with all the buttons and wires and the 100+ pages of detailed instructions in your expensive camera’s owner’s manual. Additionally, when you point a little plastic camera at someone, the reaction you get will likely be very different; people are disarmed, more casual and open.

There are a wide variety of Disposable Cameras on the market — and many uses for them, too. Most models come with a rear monitor to view images. They are fully automatic, including the flash (if they have one), usually have a self-timer, and occasionally have an image-delete function. Prices for a camera with the capability for 25 or 27 pictures range from $9 to $19. These prices may or may not include processing, which adds around $10. You can get cheaper prices if you buy in wholesale in quantity or buy without a flash. They can be as inexpensive as $2.00 each!

Most models will yield an image of sufficient quality that it can be blown up to an 8 X 10 inch print, but not all. Some models that are under $10 create overexposed flash images when used with the camera’s short flash range (only 4 feet to 8 feet). Another drawback with some of the cheaper models especially is that the viewfinder can be difficult to see through. Typically, even the more expensive versions make you wait between flashes, limiting how many pictures you can take in a given period of time.

Many disposable cameras have a rear monitor that lets you delete the image you just took. However, on most of these, you cannot scroll through the photos you have taken, or use the screen to frame a photo. On some of the less expensive models, the delete function is useless because there is no rear monitor to see what you are deleting.

Both the film disposable camera and the digital disposable camera are convenient and fun, but if you are looking for professional results or a variety of options, stick with the higher end film or digital cameras. And if you shoot photos on a regular basis, it’s cheaper in the long run to purchase a regular, non-disposable camera even if you pay to process the prints.

However, having the option to take a disposable camera with you on a family vacation, work party or wedding can be great. Sometimes you don’t want to take an expensive camera on a trip for fear it will be stolen, you’ll leave it behind, or it might get broken — an alternative solution comes in the form of the less expensive but perfectly serviceable disposable camera. You get the photos you want without the worry you don’t need.

Digital Camera Basics

Howstuffworks.com contains an article by Gurevich, Karim, and Wilson that greatly simplifies an explanation of how digital cameras work. Very simply, they explain that CDs, mp3’s, and DVDs all share the same technology: they convert traditional analog “wave” data into digital data based upon “bits.” In so doing, this radical shift in technology has changed greatly – and forever – how we do things and what has become possible including digital “filmless” cameras. While film cameras depend upon chemical and mechanical processes, digital cameras contain a computer that records images electronically.

In 1994, Kodak and Apple developed and sold the first digital cameras. Today there are hundreds of models to choose from, depending upon the type of pictures you need, the complexity with which you’re comfortable, and what digital camera you can afford. For everyday use, most people prefer a “point and shoot” camera that isn’t complex, takes good quality pictures that can be loaded onto computers or printed for personal use and to send to friends, and is affordable. According to a number of consumer guides and customer reviews, the top ten digital cameras in the low, mid, and high price ranges are:

  • Nikon D300 (high)
  • Canon EOS 5D (high)
  • Canon EOS 40D (high)
  • HP Photosmart M547 (low, great value)
  • FujiFilm Finepix S700 (mid)
  • GE A730 (mid)
  • Nikon D200 (high)
  • Canon EOS Digital Rebel Xsi (high)
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 (mid)
  • Canon EOS 30D (high)

The point should be made that what constitutes a “great” digital camera is usually in the eye of the beholder. One person’s “top ten” list is almost certain to differ from another person’s. For example, a digital camera that is making devoted converts is the Casio Exilim series that sells in the mid-level price range, depending upon your digital camera photography needs. On the other end, Digital Camera.com rates the Pentax Optio E-10 as “the worst digital camera ever.”

With all these differing opinions, what’s the best way to buy the digital camera that’s right for you? If you simply want to take personal pictures, choose a digital camera that has at least three megapixels. This will give you good quality pictures at a very affordable price. Remember that the higher the number of megapixels, the better quality your pictures will be, but the digital camera you choose will be more complex and more expensive. Also consider the size and shape of the camera; is it easy for you to carry in your purse or pocket? Finally, be sure your digital camera has at least 256-512 megabites of space on its memory card so you won’t have to buy additional memory cards. Taking all these factors into consideration will help you enjoy capturing treasured memories for years to come.

Wide World of Camera Lenses

Moving on from lenses, we digress a little and jump on directly to the security cameras. The latest security system uses the board cameras. These are mini cameras that have lenses mounted on circuit boards. The small size of these cameras makes them simply apt for use in the security system applications. Sometimes they also use the pin hole lenses that are available in two categories – flat and conical lenses.

The conical lens is used when the security system camera is installed on the ceiling tiles and the flat lens is used when the security camera system uses a thin material such as clothing. Some of these board cameras also use the board lenses for better picture quality. Most of the board cameras operate with an AC adapter or at times using a battery for power supply. However, most of the brand manufacturers suggest the use of good quality adapters for your cameras.

Talking of camera systems, we just cannot afford to forget the canon camera systems. It is one of the leading producers of the most complete single lens reflex camera system in the world. They give you guaranteed products that can take you to a much higher level of photography. They use some exclusive technologies that are unmatched by any other camera manufacturer in the world.

Sometimes these cameras use the teleconverters for the conversion or rather extension of the focal lengths. One of the popular names in this field is the bower that boasts not only of teleconverters but are also leading manufactures of wide angle lenses. The bower lenses come with a high resolution, ultra wide angle and even macro fittings attached. Another important camera system is the telescopic camera system that is used for security as well as some industrial inspections. This system features a powerful monochrome camera and an illuminator mounted on a telescopic pole.

With all these varieties of cameras available, people generally do not prefer fixed lens cameras. Thus, manufacturers have come up with a better solution in the form of the varifocal lenses. As the name suggests, these lenses can be adjusted even after the purchase of the camera. In simple words, these lenses provide the facility of changing the focal length and consequently the magnification of the image.

There is one more historical name that needs to be added to the list and that is the cosina cameras and camera lenses. This company is also accredited with world’s first all-push-button SLR cameras. Then, there is a latest product in the market by the name of Nikon’s d2h camera, which is receiving rave reviews. It is much better in looks and performance than its predecessors D1H and D1.

Even after all these discussions, some of us are still not aware of many of the terminologies used in the field of camera and lenses. One good example is the 3x, which denotes the ratio of the camera’s longest focal length to the shortest focal length. It, by no ways, means that two 3x cameras will have the same actual magnification.